Chained in place thanks to the pandemic, our souls have grown restless, stirring to go. . .anywhere.
Mike and I are two weeks post COVID vaccine number two and have meandered to Chicago to await the birth of our third grandchild. We are wandering around the Midwest until we get word of the stork drop at which time we will isolate in SD’s basement until it is safe to see the newcomer.
Like readers who can’t live without books, travelers can’t survive without a journey. Unable to take to the road this past year, I have filled my time with reading, both escape and nourishment for my mind and soul.
Our journey has been circumscribed by pandemic restrictions closing many sites and limiting dining options. Having lived in central Arizona for over 20 years, we now hunker down inside when faced with Midwest winter weather. Plans for hiking and exploring parks and neighborhoods were rejected to be replaced with quiet afternoons in the hotel, sorting through old photos.
A new paradigm
There was a time when we crammed five or six experiences into a day on the road. Now, one or two keeps me happy. The leisurely travel pace covering 1800 miles in 10 days relieved us from stress of inevitable delays.
Listening together to podcasts and music during the drive, Mike and I relaxed into each other’s company. Moments like those are rare at home.
Meeting family and friends in small groups is allowing us to visit without distractions. A conversation with a cousin was the first 1:1 encounter I had ever had with her. Our rare visits usually take place in large gatherings marked by meal preparation and clean up and catching up with the extended family. On this particular day, we picked up lunch from a carryout and enjoyed it in the kitchen of the family farm.
Thanks to isolation precautions, museums and gardens are uncrowded, allowing us to enjoy the exhibits slowly, reflecting how people from other places and other times are impacting our lives today.
The 2019 pandemic has altered our daily lives. We ask ourselves what we want the post pandemic life to look like. I know that hectic travel will not be on my agenda. Meandering is much more suitable.